The other day I was in the pantry filling the water pitcher from our Berkey filter. The kitchen door was open to the back porch / summer kitchen / laundry room, because the weather was warm and pleasant. As I stood there waiting for the pitcher to fill, I heard the kitty door.
"Riley, is that you?" I said. (Not that it would be anyone else.)
Next I heard crashing and banging. That alarmed me but the pitcher wasn't full yet so I couldn't go see what it was. I heard it again. Suddenly a chipmunk came high tailing it around the wood cookstove toward the pantry, and me. Riley was right on its tail.
I screamed, the chipmunk freaked, but Riley never missed a beat. After a flurried turn or two around the kitchen, the chipmunk made a dive for the bathroom with Riley right behind. I quickly closed the door, relieved that I wouldn't have to chase and catch a chipmunk in the house.
I had to leave the kitchen after that, because I couldn't listen to the life and death game being played in the bathroom. You may or may not agree, but Dan and I have a strict policy of non-interference when it comes to cats and their business. This is Riley's job after all, and on a farm or working homestead, rodents will overpopulate and overrun. Without a cat they'll do quite a bit of damage and as well as attract snakes, because snakes love to eat small rodents too. Some folks may prefer snakes to cats, but I can't imagine a snake doing double duty as a lap warmer.
But back to the situation at hand. Now, I'm not one to assign human thinking to animals. Animals can reason in their own species fashion, and some can be pretty smart about it. I think Riley's that way, I think Riley is a smart cat. Just a day or two prior, I saw him with a chipmunk he'd caught in the driveway. He was playing "cat and mouse," where he pretends his attention is elsewhere, until his "mouse" makes a run for it. (It seems a cruel game, I know, but that's what cats do.) Unfortunately that particular munk made a run for it and ran right up a tree. Call me crazy, but I think this time he brought his munk into the house so it couldn't get away!
This story does have a happy ending. Once Riley finally asked to come out of the bathroom, I assumed the chipmunk was dead. It certainly looked dead. When Dan went to pick it up however, it was very much alive! A bit stunned, but alive. He set it by one of our numerous chipmunk holes and it disappeared down the hole in a wink.
Now when Riley rings the kitty door bell to come into the house, we take a peek out the kitchen door window. We tell him he's only allowed to come in if he's alone. New rule, though it remains to be seen whether or not he'll honor it.